State superintendent visits Wakarusa

WAKARUSA — In recent weeks Dr. Tony Bennett, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, has toured the state, visiting a number of schools and working towards fostering scholastic improvement among Indiana’s youth. Along the way he has also welcomed advice, feedback and commentary from educators and administrators. 
On Nov. 18, Dr. Bennett was welcomed to Wakarusa Elementary School for an evening of sharing goals and instilling positive direction.
Dr. Bennett’s most recent statewide journey, billed as a series entitled “After School with Dr. Bennett,” has included nine schools from across Indiana. During his time in Wakarusa, he met with educators and gathered with superintendents and school board representatives. Many of those in attendance were able to ask questions of Dr. Bennett through a registration process, to ensure that their concerns would be addressed.
Wakarusa Elementary School Principal Larry Nafziger said Dr. Bennett’s visit to Wakarusa was not a random decision. 
“Dr. Bennett selected several schools from around the state that showed significant improvement on ISTEP from last year to this year, as a location to hold these meetings,” Nafziger said. “He is using these meetings as community forums to speak to educators and school boards to get their input as to these new initiatives.”
 Among the new initiatives Nafziger spoke of included “The Growth Model,” an assessment tool that utilizes ISTEP scores to track achievement from year to year among individual students and school systems overall.
The “Learning Connection” was also covered, as attendees discussed the use of the newly instituted online format. According to the Indiana Department of Education’s website, the Learning Connection is being touted as a “portal ... a vital channel of communication ... providing data, resources and tools” for everyone involved in education from kindergarten to the high school level.
Other items discussed included the use of metrics for grading schools (A-F), and how to bolster reading framework at the third-grade level.
Nafziger noted that the portion of the evening dedicated to local educational administrators is approached from a unique perspective. 
“Dr. Bennett’s meeting with superintendents and school boards (is) somewhat different, as they (speak) more to issues that are common to them,” Nafziger said.
To learn more about Dr. Bennett’s vision for Indiana’s students and educators, the department’s website can be accessed at www.doe.in.gov. There are links to connect to Dr. Bennett’s travel itinerary, past and future presentation schedules and PowerPoint slides.